We can all influence tourism nowadays. One TripAdvisor review can change the fortunes of a whole range of business in the sector, from small businesses on the UK coast luxury resorts abroad. Tourist boards, travel experts, large leisure firms and entrepreneurs are now making their way onto social media in greater numbers. If you need to engage with tourism influencers and experts, there’s never been a better time.
1. Think about the types of tourism influencers who can help most with your goals
Choose your target regions. Doing some face-to-face networking in the area is essential as some of the most influential figures in tourism are yet to tweet or post. Obviously you’ll find that attractions or organisations that have marketing departments will have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Tap into the knowledge and followers of prominent bloggers in the area. Make a list of contacts and prioritise it.
2. Get some background on their business interests and any tourist associations they belong to.
It will be easier to begin conversations with new contacts in tourism if you can get a good understanding of what’s important to them currently. Which circles are they moving within? Have they supported any important community or civic initiatives
3. Take an active interest in what they are posting and who they are interacting with
Those that have embraced social media will be easier to research – certainly in terms of their public personas.
Are your target individuals taking part in live chats?
- Who’s following them?
- What are they retweeting?
- What are they not talking about – this can be pretty telling too.
- What tone of voice so they use?
- Have they displayed signs of being in need of the services or products you could offer them?
- How mature is their business?
- Are your competitors already on their follow list?
4. Start to interact with them without using any hard sell
Like all good working relationships, building trust and interaction relies on common ground, mutual respect and collaboration. Just as you would at a networking event, see if someone can introduce you to your contact. React to their posts or retweet their content. It’s a subtle art form, but if you use the rules of offline introductions, you may be able to gradually integrate into the circles you’re aiming for. Give it time! Consider running your own events to bring together the people you’re keen to meet.
5. Share and create content on subjects like travel and hospitality to appeal to this target audience
This takes more effort and can be a slow burner, but it will grow your profile in the regional tourism sector of your choice. Showing your knowledge and insight can position you as an expert or fresh voice with a new perspective. Showcasing local businesses is a great way to connect with their circles and get your content shared more widely in just the right places.
Life in tourism isn’t all beaches, ice creams and rollercoasters. It’s a complex sector often at the mercy of seasonality, the weather, the economy, casual employment, the reputation of the region, the effects of national events and school holidays. Show you are willing to build a better understanding and empathy for this unique challenge and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to grow your own influence and expertise. Demand for your products or service is more likely to grow if you do the required groundwork. Following our tips above to engage with tourism influencers and experts will certainly give you a head start.